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It’s no secret. Dogs’ noses are out of control. We say that jokingly, of course. Their snoots might goose you while you’re walking around the kitchen every now and then, or they might form a roundabout with other dogs at the dog park.

Your initial reaction is to laugh it off or break up the party. Do you know why our fur babies have the tendency to sniff butts? 

Yes, we’re writing a blog post about it because the court wants to know! Why do dogs’ noses sniff butts? Is there any consequence to your dogs not sniffing butts? How does this sensory process work?

This blog post smells like….knowledge!

Why Dogs Sniff Butts

Imagine this. You’re walking down the sidewalk Downtown and you can’t quite see who is walking towards you. As you both walk closer to each other though, you start recognizing different things like their hair, their face, their posture, how they walk, etc. as they do with you. 

You’re able to determine oh that’s my buddy Nick.

That period of time processing visual information is the same experience for dogs but through their sniffers. When they run into another dog, both fur babies will more than likely engage in butt sniffing to figure out if they know that dog or if this is a new dog.

VCA Hospitals explains, “Their [dogs’] acute olfactory senses enhance communication by using biochemical compounds emitted by dogs as the basis for chemical communication. The chemical aromas identify gender and mood, and even communicate what a dog likes to eat. By simply smelling, a dog can determine if a new friend is male or female, happy or aggressive, or healthy or ill. Dogs get a general idea about each other with a quick sniff, but get more detailed information by getting up close and personal.”

What if my dog doesn’t let other dogs sniff their butt?

Great question! So not all fur babies are going to let other dogs sniff their rear that easily. Your dog might have social anxiety which can make them more skittish to quick movements from others they aren’t familiar with (in that moment especially because everyone is a stranger).

According to Animal Wised, “Why dogs sniff each others butts is related to this physicality. Two glands are located beside the anus of the dog. Known also as anal sacs or scent glands, they secrete an individual scent, unique to each dog as fingerprints are to us. When a dog is sniffing another dog's rear, they are actually pressing their nose against the anal glands to produce a secretion. The dog can then recognize the other animal in the future, such is their acute olfactory ability.

This kind of canine social behavior is important and should not be discouraged. While some dogs may do it more than others, it is uncommon to do it at all. If they prevent another dog from doing it, it is a sign of a problem.”

If the social fear is severe, it could be a result of the following:

  • Lack of (or inadequate) socialization
  • Chronic stress
  • Trauma

The best solution is re-introduction and socializing your dog once more if not the first time properly. Adult dogs can be socialized although it’s far easier to socialize a dog in their youth. Again, it’s possible to socialize a grown dog.


What you’ve just read is a sampling of blog posts we offer at Joyride Harness. We cover current events, informational posts, interviews, and more! You can find more content including tips and tricks and how-tos for caring for your dog on our blog at this section.

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